RE: Interviewing contract technical writers

Subject: RE: Interviewing contract technical writers
From: Lane Pasut <Larissa -dot- Pasut -at- OmegaResearch -dot- com>
To: "'Alyssa Fox'" <afox -at- zeh -dot- com>, TECHWR-L <techwr-l -at- lists -dot- raycomm -dot- com>
Date: Tue, 25 Jan 2000 15:22:47 -0500

First of all, LISTEN! When I first started interviewing several years back,
I tended to talk more than I had to, wanting to explain what we did, how,
why, all that stuff. Or I would ask a question and then help with the
answer. Ask and wait for the answer, don't help with it (i.e., oh, you mean
this...). Today, not only do I listen, but I tend to ask people how they
would approach challenges, issues, situations they would encounter on the
job. For example, I ask them to explain their approach to technical writing
(creating a document), how they would tackle a particular technical
communication issue. I also tend to ask questions that tell me how deeply
they have thought about what they do. It is important to me that they think
things through and have very specific reasons for doing them. Therefore, I
ask things like what difference they see between hard-copy and online help
(types of information best presented in each, advantages of one over the
other). Or, what challenges does having a diverse audience present to a
technical communicator. Their answers tell me whether or not they've thought
about this, and to what degree. I also try to get a feel for their level of
attention to detail and their ability to communicate with others (to relate
to an Engineer or SME, for instance).



-----Original Message-----
From: Alyssa Fox [mailto:afox -at- zeh -dot- com]

Does anyone have suggestions on what I can ask the candidates in the

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